Korean War (20)

USS Toledo off Korean coast

USS Toledo off Korean coast

1 May 1951, the approximate line of battle in Korea on this date extended from a point about 6 miles north of Yangyang on the east coast to slightly north of Yongdongpo on the west. The 1st Marine Division was defending north of Hong Ch’on under the the X Corps. During most of May, the USS Toledo, sitting off od Inchon used her guns to support the ground troops of I Corps (8th Army).

Douglas Skyraider

Douglas Skyraider

3 May, 12 Corsairs and 8 Skyraiders from the USS Princeton made an inland attack on the enemy controlled Hwachon Dam. The destruction of one dam gate and damaging of two others left the dam of no tactical use to the enemy.

5-7 May, the ROKN JML-306 (a small ex-Japanese minesweeper) hit a mine and sank. Gunfire support from five US ships supported the ROK troops in the Kosong and Kansong area which resulted in extensive damage to the enemy troops, shelters, gun positions and transportation facilities.

USS Orleck, DD-886 in heavy seas, Korea

USS Orleck, DD-886 in heavy seas, Korea

11 May, on the east coast, the USS Orleck fired on enemy troops using a SFCP (Spotting Fire Command Post) and caused about 300 enemy KIA. Later firings caused about another 140 and saved the ROK men from annihilation in that area. On the west coast, the US Air Force TF (Task Force) 77 was called in to bomb four rail bridges.

16-20 May, the Chinese Communist forces, starting their Second Step, 5th Phase Offensive, and the X Corps began the battle of Soyang-Gang. After two days of fighting, the 8th Army requested air support. Once more the ROK III Corps collapsed. Van Fleet switched the US 3rd Division and 187th ARCT across from I Corps to bolster the X Corps. After relentless battles that would continue into June, the enemy was pushed back into the Iron Triangle (the 50 square mile plateau surrounded by large mountains). According to the US Marine Corps histories, the Chinese were “scourged with bullets, rockets and napalm as planes swooped down upon them like hawks scattering chickens.” The Wyoming Line (near the 38th parallel) was chosen as the best area to stand and defend. The National Security Council’s meeting felt this was the best for the US political aims. The UN troops were capable, but did push the enemy back to the Yalu River.

US Navy F-4U Corsair waits to take off from the USS Philippine Sea

US Navy F-4U Corsair waits to take off from the USS Philippine Sea

TF-77 suffered its heaviest casualties to date; 6 aircraft (5 F4-Us and 1 AD Skyraider) were lost during combat; 3 pilots were killed, one missing and 2 recovered. The USS Brinkley Bass lost one man and had 9 WIA after a heavy battle with enemy shore guns at Wonsan.

23 May, two landing ships with medium rockets (LSMR) fired a total of 4,903 rockets in a 35 minute period at enemy concentrations in the Wonsan area. This was a coordinated action with light cruisers and destroyers for Operation Fireball. This was the first time the LSMR was used.

7 June, a raiding party was put ashore at Sonjin from the USS Rupertus and entered into a small arms battle. The men returned to the ship with 3 North Korean prisoners.

12-20 June, the USS Walke struck a mine; 26 men were killed and 35 were wounded. The USS Thompson was hit 14 times by enemy shore batteries off of Songjin and 3 men were killed and 4 wounded. Songjin was now in its 100th day of siege. The 1st Marine Division secured their area of the reservoir.

Battle of Soyang

Battle of Soyang

The Battle of Soyang involved Canadians, Australians, New Zealand, the Dutch, British, French and US I, IX and X Corps verses thousands of Chinese troops: one division of their 15th Army and two divisions of their 12th Army were merely the frontal attack. The enemy’s 27th Army, III Army and 18th Division of the 60th Army were also involved.

[Three times I attempted to consolidate the data for this battle, but I was unable to do so without making it incomprehensible. Therefore I am including this link to the Army records in the event a reader is interested.]

http://www.history.army.mil/books/korea/ebb/ch25.htm

During the month of May, the Chinese Communist forces lost approximately 100,000 men killed in action. It was now the first time whole units of the enemy began to lay down their weapons and surrender to UN troops.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 2919573205_5a3a5035a8_b (800x545)

Emily deForest Guertin – Winsted, CT; US Navy WAVES, WWII, Pharmacist Mate Third Class

Joseph Philip Gomer – Duluth, Minn.; US Army, WWII, Minnesota’s last surviving Tuskegee Airman

Albin Warner – Chicago, IL; US Army WWII, ETP, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge w/ Silver Star

James Trone – Bethesda, MD; US Navy, Captain MC (Ret.)

Thomas Dougherty – Pocasset, MA; USMC 1st Marine Division, Korea (Chosin Reservoir & Inchon)

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on October 14, 2013, in Korean War and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Skyraiders and Corsairs… The Skyraider pilots had guts. Low and slow. I chatted ever so briefly with Col. James Doolittle III who was one such pilot in Nam. And Old Man Jack’s beloved Corsair. He reminisced about how he would burn his belly while working on them on “those stinkin’ islands” during WWII.

    Until reading your report, I had no idea Japanese warships had been modified for postwar use. I wonder how many were refloated or reused now out of curiosity. Further, the loss of navel assets was surprising in a way…

    Thanks again!

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  2. gpcox – It still amazes me that we didn’t hear more about this “war” while we were in school. I don’t remember being taught anything about it. Was I not paying attention ???

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    • So many people have said that to me, and not just from this country. I don’t know what the textbook writers were told back then, but it seems no one was quite aware of this war except those in it.

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  3. Always informative to those of us who were not born at the time. But also a sad reminder of all those who paid with their lives!

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  4. As usual great post. Keep the words alive and history needs to be remembered. It is hard to know that so many families were disrupted and so many good men died.

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    • I know the way I was taught – I grew up with the impression that there was a line across the tiny country and SOME of our men had to watch on the line to make sure no one crossed. They made it sound as if it really WAS just like the police fighting back the student protests during Vietnam.

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  5. My dad’s ship , a transport , was off the Korean coast during that war . They had gone around the world during WWII , mostly in the Pacific , off Australia and Guadalcanal , etc. During the Korean War several support ships were sunk by mines ( not his ). His ship had been de-commisioned in 1946 and then re-commissioned for Korea . Thanks for another great post .
    Also , I think the Corsair is the most beautiful plane ever made .

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  6. Hello, I thought you might find this interesting It is from Veterans Affars Canada regarding the Korean War. Cheers. http://www.flickr.com/photos/vac-acc/10213718246/in/photostream/

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  7. I’ve been catching up, and might have forgotten to hit “like” on a few along the way. Consider them all liked.

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  8. I thought at first that Toledo was a battleship, looked it up—heavy cruiser with a very impressive turn of speed. Great article!

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  9. The map is an important part of the story. Thanks!

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  10. One mighty looking battle ship up there.

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  11. Great…Great post! And pictures! Love the picture of the Skyraider and the map which clearly shows it was time to lay down arms. Ah, the Tuskagee chapter closes…to all of them and the others listed today…SALUTE!

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